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Photo by Devin Chanse, TexAgs
Texas A&M Soccer

Aggies eliminated from SEC Tournament after 2-1 loss to South Carolina

October 30, 2018

After defeating the Gamecocks last week in Columbia, the No. 15 A&M soccer team was unable to do the same in their first game of the SEC Tournament, falling to South Carolina, 2-1. 

“It was an entertaining match for the neutral observer between two really good teams,” A&M head coach G Guerrieri said. “It’s certainly a disappointing result.” 

The 3-seed Aggies made a couple of lineup adjustments this go-around with 6-seed South Carolina. First, Briana Alston who sat out of Thursday’s game with an injury returned to action and notched the start. 

Guerrieri also gave starting nods to Kate Hadju in the midfield and Brittany Crabtree up top alongside Ally Watt. Hadju had not started a match this season and Crabtree hadn’t started since August 24. The duo started in place of Grace Piper and Jimena Lopez who both had started every regular season game this season. 

The Aggies got off to a fast-paced start and were able to move the ball across the field with ease. A&M midfielder Emily Bates found the back of the net in the 18th minute, touching the ball to her right side and blasting a shot into the right side-netting from 25 yards out. 

Just a minute later, South Carolina was awarded a penalty kick after A&M center defender slide tackled a Gamecock forward inside the penalty box. Lauren Chang slotted the ball down the middle of the goal, scoring the equalizing goal. 

The Aggies were the aggressor for the duration of the half and were able to possess the ball and build their attacks from their back line. The maroon and white had some chances on frame — including a shot from Ally Watt that just grazed the post on a 1-on-1 opportunity in the 19th minute — but weren’t able to capitalize. The Aggies outshot the Gamecocks seven to four, but the score remained deadlocked at 1-1 at the intermission.  

“I thought we played really well the first half but gave up an unfortunate PK and we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities on the offensive end."
- G Guerrieri

“I thought we played really well the first half but gave up an unfortunate PK and we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities on the offensive end,” Guerrieri said. 

South Carolina came out firing on all cylinders in the opening minutes of the second half and A&M goalkeeper Cosette Morche made two saves in the opening minutes. Gamecock forward Luciana Zullo was able to break the tie in the 52nd minute after beating an A&M defender and sending the ball past Morche. 

"I was disappointed with the way we played to start the second half. South Carolina came out with energy and we didn’t match it,” Guerrieri said.  

The Aggies immediately enacted an offensive push which created golden scoring opportunities that they just weren’t able to finish. Perhaps the best opportunity in the second stanza came from a 19-yard Ally Watt free kick that was inches from the frame. The maroon and white were fruitless in their equalizing attempts to get past the Gamecock defense in the waning minutes of the game, and they lost 2-1. 

The loss takes A&M out of contention for what would have been their fourth SEC Tournament Championship in six years. The maroon and white have been projected to be as low as a No. 3 seed and as high as a No. 5 seed but there will still be a lot more developments to those rankings with conference tournaments happening all over the country this weekend.

The NCAA Tournament seeding will be announced on the Selection Show on Monday at 3:30 p.m. 

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